I Gave It The Weekend, And I Still Can't Understand Why The Wizards Gave Dwight Howard A Player Option
I'm not going to lie. Even as someone who likes to see happening in sports through various perspectives, albeit sarcastically, I'm having a tough time finding a good reason for why the Washington Wizards felt it necessary to make a financial commitment to Dwight Howard that will wear on their wallet long after he's worn out his welcome. At two years and 11 million dollars in total, it was far from the worst contract handed out in NBA free agency. I just think you'd be hard pressed to find one that was more confusing. Not that a team option would have all that much more cautionary for an organization dumb enough to decide on quelling their in-fighting with Dwight f'n Howard, but Ernie Grunfeld managed to give a player option to the one person that would be more likely to choose the wrong option than himself.
We're taking about a guy whose name was met with a resounding and unanimous "he..he...he...hellllllll no" when it was presented to a team, in the Warriors, that prides themselves on mocking the rest of the league by treasuring their trash...
Yet, the franchise on the bi-polar opposite of the NBA's functionality spectrum decided that a near seven foot infection that's poisoned three separate locker rooms in the last three years and was preemptively (and expensively) exterminated from a fourth is so fitting of their culture that they incentivized a deal made with the the basketball equivalent of the devil?
Maybe the Wizards are right, Maybe they are so broken that having a centralized figure to direct all their angst towards is a step in the right direction for a team that's constantly been turned against one another by turmoil. If nothing else, Dwight Howard has proven that he's nearly impossible to like and thus far less likely receive any sort of support in any sort of conflict. If his role in the organization is to be the punching bag for which internal frustrations get externalized then I suppose it could be a good addition that can finally do what Marcin Gortat couldn't in making John Wall look like a sympathetic figure in the eyes of his own teammates. I wouldn't exactly bank on it, but it's possible that the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" theory could make Washington a more cohesive unit. If ironic friendships formed amongst ex-girlfriends in bad romantic comedies have taught us anything it's that shared hatred is extremely underrated when it comes to unifying otherwise oppositional parties. I don't know that the reward of a second round exit is worth the risk of their sanity, but the Wizards don't exactly have championship aspirations to lose by getting experimental with their team building.
Still, stat line aside, giving a person with the general disposition of a time bomb the choice to keep ticking under their roof for en entire second season was the most they could have done in assuring that it's inevitable detonation occurs on their watch.